Former Cabinet Minister Malusi Gigaba and Former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe have denied allegations from former employees that they have received large amounts of money from the Guptas during visits to the Gupta family mansion in Saxonwold.
On Thursday the Zondo Commission heard from former employees of Ministers and CEOs of State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) that they often went on visits to the Gupta mansion, some of which were not logged, and would leave with backpacks filled with cash. These were the reports:
Former Eskom CEO, Brian Molefe
Molefe’s former employee known as ‘Witness 1’ recalled various occasions where he would allegedly drive the former CEO to visit Ajay Gupta at the family’s mansion in Saxonwold. The witness said that Molefe would often carry a backpack when visiting the Gupta mansion.
On one occasion the witness was allegedly instructed by Molefe to fetch a cellphone from a backpack during work at the Transnet offices in the Carlton Centre. The witness claims that it was the same backpack that Molefe would carry when visiting the Guptas. Upon opening the backpack, the witness allegedly found it full of bundles of R200 notes and then showed it to Molefe’s personal assistant at the time.
The witness then reports that they had confronted Molefe about the security risk involved with carrying the cash and was allegedly reprimanded for it.
The former bodyguard also reports that they were often instructed to deposit cash ranging from R5 000 to R20 000 into accounts at the Carlton Centre, often near the start and end of the month.
Former Transnet CEO, Siyabonga Gama
Former driver to Gama known as ‘Witness 2’ recalled an occasion where they had to take Gama to the Gupta mansion and once Gama returned to the car, the driver was instructed to open the boot and a man coming out of the mansion placed a briefcase in the boot.
The driver was then allegedly instructed to drive Gama to a hotel in Sandton, where he was reportedly instructed to transfer the briefcase to the car of Transnet employee, Thamsanqa Jiyane. The witness says that upon inspection of the briefcase, they found bundles of cash consisting of R50 and R100 notes.
On a separate occasion, the witness was allegedly instructed to collect cash from Salim Essa, who has been affiliated with the Gupta family. Gama had then allegedly asked the driver to help count the money, which was reported to be filled with R1 million in cash. The witness was also allegedly given R50 000 from the same bag.
Former Minister, Malusi Gigaba
‘Witness 3′ is reported to be the former bodyguard of Malusi Gigaba during his tenure as the Minister of Public Enterprises. The witness said that the protection team was allegedly instructed by Gigaba to not record visits to the Gupta residence in the logbook. The witness reportedly accompanied Gigaba with the protection team on six visits and one alone. He revealed that he had allegedly seen Brian Molefe, former SABC chairperson Ben Ngubane, former Eskom executive Matshela Koko and former President Jacob Zuma during visits to Saxonwold.
The third witness also reported that Gigaba would often use money from a sports bag, allegedly from the Gupta family, to pay cash at restaurants and for tailored suits in Sandton.
During a radio interview, Brian Molefe denied allegations against him and said the witness’ testimony is no definite observation that the Gupta family gave him the money that was in the bag. Molefe added that while there may have been money in the bag, it does not necessarily mean that it was from the Gupta family. Molefe says that he looks forward to presenting his side to the Zondo Commission.
Former Cabinet Minister Malusi Gigaba has denied the allegations by a former bodyguard and has reportedly asked his legal team to send a request to Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo to cross-examine Witness 3 himself.
The identities of the witnesses have been concealed as some have reported that they have been receiving death threats and have been followed around on numerous occasions.